Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
In the old days, back before the National Hockey League owners’ great victory over the players and the imposition of a salary cap, the equation come trade deadline day was easy for even the most casual fan to understand.
Rich, competitive teams were buyers. Poor and non-competitive teams were sellers.
Sometimes the doings were dramatic, sometimes less so, and always there were intangibles in the mix. A team preparing for the playoffs might want to add “grit” or “character” or “toughness” or a player who might have a calming/inspiring presence in the dressing room.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
So, what does all the trade deadline to-ing and fro-ing mean to those teams who still harbor Stanley Cup dreams or playoff pipedreams? Here’s the post-deadline look at playoff-hopeful teams and whether they’re trending up, trending down or merely treading water.
Montreal Canadiens: GM Bob Gainey’s biggest move was in resisting the temptation to deal power-play specialist and potential free-agent defenseman Sheldon Souray. The deal to bring in Josh Gorges and a first-round pick for potential unrestricted free-agent defenseman Craig Rivet was a good “down-the-road” move. Still, down the road isn’t what Habs fans want to see. Trending down.
By George James Malik:
The Edmonton Journal’s Dan Barnes sums up the storyline that will become front and centre for the next few weeks in lamenting the Oilers’ decision to trade Ryan Smyth:
Too much? Absolutely. But this wasn’t supposed to happen under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Prongers of the world could be had, the Smyths could be kept; that was the bill of goods sold to long-suffering Oiler fans. They could have forgiven Lowe’s inability to find that defenceman. Heck, they would have forgiven a season sans playoffs, if only Lowe had found a way to keep Smyth. Didn’t he save enough money on the Pronger deal? Shouldn’t there be enough in the kitty to overpay the heart and soul of the franchise?
from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Holmgren should get the job for good. He should be the one who makes the next set of moves this summer, when the Flyers’ general manager gets to make use of the draft choices and salary-cap space and trade assets that Holmgren has so assiduously acquired.
But will he?
“I plan on it, yeah,” he said yesterday, after the news conference to announce the Biron deal.
But has he been told?
“No, not necessarily,” Holmgren said.
from On the Islanders Beat,
Negotiations between Ryan Smyth and agent Don Meehan with Edmonton for a contract extension broke down 20 minutes before the 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline. Ten minutes later, the Islanders called their shocking deal with the Oilers in to league headquarters, a team official said.
The attorney on the other end of the phone expected something minor, and when he heard Smyth’s name, his reaction was, well, the exact words of surprise can’t be repeated in a family blog. Smyth is an icon in Edmonton, and his loss sent shock waves across Canada, especially since it came on Mark Messier Night for the Oilers.
from On Frozen Pond,
The Panthers weren’t going to sign Bert for the money he was seeking, so now he’s gone. Basically, the Panthers gave up Roberto Luongo for Bryan Allen and hope of something better out of Alex Auld, the prospect (Shawn Matthias) and the conditional picks.
Even kids on Sesame Street know that sucks with a capital S.
Not that the Panthers had much choice in the matter, not with Bert only playing in seven games this season. Keenan, for one, is excited for the Red Wings. “That’s a great deal for Detroit,’’ he said on TSN, where he serves as an analyst.
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
While TSN was reporting that Buffalo goaltender Martin Biron had been traded, the cast of dozens at Rogers Sportsnet were showing viewers live shots of some game-show eye candy getting their makeup, the Hanson brothers performing their 30-year-old shtick and the back of blogger Eklund’s head as he provided the first in a series of often obvious and even more often erroneous rumours….
In fact, the most entertaining part of Sportsnet’s ``deadline bash” wasn’t the balloons, the Hansons or the table hockey games. It was Eklund, who fell just short of naming every NHL player in trade rumours…
1:04 p.m. Eklund reports more rumours, this time citing ``really, really good sources.”
2:08 p.m. Eklund reports that Edmonton has signed Ryan Smyth to a long-term deal.
3 p.m. Eklund reports that L.A. has dealt Mattias Norstrom to Anaheim, ``but I may be wrong on that.” He was.
3:15 p.m. Eklund says rumour has Leafs trading Matt Stajan. They don’t.
more...The MSM is finally getting the picture that many of us have known all along…
from Terry Jones at the Edmonton Sun,
When it came to Smyth, Edmonton fans didn’t care about the dollars. He’d signed his previous two deals with hometown discounts. If it was $5.5 million per year, which seems to be the number it would have cost per year over five years to keep him here, fine.
To the fans, Ryan Smyth was not about dollars, he was about love and location.
To Kevin Lowe, he was about “a hockey decision.”
There will be a public outcry about this one. And you can’t blame fans for feeling that way.
Lowe and Oilers ownership and management made it quite clear they expect negative initial reaction from the fans.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The great myth of equality amidst all the screams of inequality has morphed into a league with a trading deadline that is no longer about trading at all.
This is a league that shut its doors with vigilance, fighting for the little guy and the little franchise, striving for cost certainty, parity and equality, and profit for one and all. This is a league where the hated commissioner was given standing ovations in Edmonton because he was fighting for their very existence.
Wonder what people in Edmonton think of the NHL today.
Wonder what it’s like to wake up and find the face of your franchise is now an Islander.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
“I’m not gun shy at all,” he said, looking back on his deadline deals. “Some of the players we traded for were very good players. It’s taught me one thing and that’s you have to have good chemistry and right now we have fantastic chemistry.”
Muckler said he wouldn’t compromise the Senators’ future to make a move now.
“There’s only going to be one parade, that’s all,” he said. “The rest (of the teams that make big deals) don’t win. They aren’t going to be successful. It’s wrong. If you hurt the future of the organization, you’re better off not doing anything.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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